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PCCLIST  May 2006

PCCLIST May 2006

Subject:

LC series decision: The role of LC in the broader bibliographic community

From:

Paul Weiss <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Program for Cooperative Cataloging <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 24 May 2006 12:11:01 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (111 lines)

LC series decision: The role of LC in the broader bibliographic community

For over a century LC has provided much-appreciated leadership in
bibliographic policy and metadata creation and distribution for the US and
the world. At the same time, as I often remind colleagues, it is the
Library of _Congress_, not the U.S. _National_ Library.

Given all the many constraints (financial, expertise, political, etc.)
that LC is under, I am quite pleased to see that there are several
portions of LC’s strategic plan (http://www.loc.gov/about/mission/) that
show that LC continues to recognize that it has a national and
international role to play in bibliographic policy and metadata creation
and distribution, and that it is committing itself to such:

“America, as a knowledge-based democracy, needs to maximize its
utilization of the information contained in digital files, the knowledge
contained in books, and the wisdom of those who curate and live with both.
The Library of Congress can and must play a central role in meeting this
national need” (p. 8, ¶2)

“The mission of the Library of Congress is to acquire, preserve, and make
accessible the world’s knowledge for the Congress and for America’s use
...” (p. 8, ¶4)

“Congress’s Library is the central hub of two important knowledge
networks: America’s own national network of libraries, archives, and other
repositories and an international network of major research libraries. ...
Just as Congress endorsed the Library of Congress to provide other
libraries with its cataloging data for print material in the early 20th
century, so it has now mandated its Library to create, in the early 21st
century, a plan for a distributed national network for preserving and
making accessible digital material.” (p. 9, ¶2)

“The Library serves the American people as a filter and source of
knowledge navigation for the increasingly chaotic tide of information and
knowledge flooding the Internet.” (p. 9, ¶4)

“It must combine leadership functions that only it can perform with
catalytic activities and new, networked relationships with other nonprofit
repositories and productive private sector institutions.” (p. 10, ¶0)

Vision And Strategic Outcomes For The 21st Century
“The Library leads the nation in ensuring access to knowledge and
information” (p. 11, ¶3)
“The core national programs of Library Services and the Office of
Strategic Initiatives ... will also have provided positive, verifiable
assurance that the Library is ... establishing bibliographic control” (p.
11, ¶4)

Mission: “The Library’s mission is to make its resources available and
useful to the Congress and the American people and to sustain and preserve
a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future
generations.” (p. 13, ¶1)

“The national library provides the following major services: ... (2)
Cataloging – producing bibliographic records and related products for the
Library as well as for libraries and bibliographic utilities in all 50
states and territories and many other countries.” (p. 17, 3a)

“In making resource allocation decisions, the Library will be guided by
four priorities: ... 2. Acquire, organize, preserve, secure, and sustain
for the present and future use of the Congress and the nation” (p. 21, D)

Strategic Goals, Objectives, And Measures (p. 23-49)
Goal 2. “Provide maximum access and facilitate effective use of the
collections by the Congress and other customers.”
       “B. Objectives of Library Services, National Library Program:
              3. Provide multiple search and access methods to support the
needs of a diverse and distributed customer population.
              4. Develop and sustain collaborative partnerships with other
libraries, public and nonprofit organizations, and the
private sector to extend access to the collections and
reference services.
       C. Performance Measures:
              6. Degree of customer satisfaction.
              7. Number of items accessed through partnerships.
              9. Number of access (bibliographic control and reference)
partnerships.
              10. Assessments by partner institutions in the national and
international information communities.”

“In addition to its internal review and evaluation process, the Library
relies on ideas and comments from the Congress and external stakeholders.”
(p. 50, ¶3)

I note also that LC includes the “National Library Service for the Blind
and Physically Handicapped”, and refers to itself as a or the national
library on p. 9, 17, and 25.

At the same time, leadership does not mean dictatorship. Leaders need to
interact with their followers, and I hope LC returns to its former more
collaborative self.

Given what’s been happening at LC in the last couple of years, it is
becoming less and less clear how LC sees itself playing out its national
and international role. I encourage LC to be explicit with the broader
library community as to its specific plans, so that we can plan for
finding/creating leadership in areas where LC removes itself or the
broader community wants to go in a different direction.

I can support LC in a significant or small or even nonexistent
national/international bibliographic role, as long as that role meets the
requirement of its establishing legislation and is made explicit. I know
that LC cannot be all things to all people. But we need to know what LC
wants to be, so that we can assess any areas that our community needs to
take on.

Paul J. Weiss
Chair, PCC Standing Committee on Standards
UCSD

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